Microsoft has had something it hasn't had for a few years - lots of buzz and enthusiasm for its latest incarnation of Windows Mobile, now dubbed Windows Phone 7 Series. They have taken some lessons learned from the Apple playbook and combined it with some of their own tricks.
Microsoft has had something it hasn't had for a few years - lots of buzz and enthusiasm for its latest incarnation of Windows Mobile, now dubbed Windows Phone 7 Series. They have taken some lessons learned from the Apple playbook and combined it with some of their own tricks.As some of you may know, I am also a Microsoft MVP for Windows Mobile, though that title may change to coincide with the phone's new name. Being an MVP doesn't mean I am a cheerleader for the platform. It means I engage with the mobile device community and help them with their device, be it helping to pick one that best suits their needs to problems that crop up with any complex platform. It also means that generally once every 12-18 months, Microsoft holds their MVP summit where I get to have deep dive sessions with members of the Windows Mobile team. That event is happening this week and wraps up today.
I've had two days of really deep dive sessions. Some involved the future of Windows Mobile 6.5, the next version of Office apps for Windows Phone 7, Windows Phone 7 itself and some meetings that are so secret I cannot even discuss the title of the session because it would disclose too much about the future.
What I can say is both in the press and at the summit, the buzz around WinPho 7 has been something Microsoft need for a long time. Summits for the past couple of years have had an almost apologetic tone to them. "Windows Mobile 7" has been discussed for a long time. Finally, in 2010, the sessions ended with "and we are ready to go" rather than "but we still have a lot of work to do."
It is a radical change as you can easily see from all of the information and related articles that came out of Mobile World Congress. There is more yet to be discussed as well. Developers should get their fill at Mix 2010 in Las Vegas next month, which includes free development tools and support for all attendees. Of course, the device rumors haven't even started yet.
The trick will be for Microsoft to keep the buzz alive for the next 6-8 months until products start shipping for the 2010 holiday season. That alone tells you that there is more to be shared. They will trickle stuff out here and there to keep you interested.
Meanwhile, if history is any guide, Apple will release a revised version of their iPhone, though in my opinion it is time to at least add a second form factor. Palm's WebOS will be a year old in June so hopefully for their sake they will have a major update to keep the platform relevant. And Android will probably go through two or three point upgrades, and maybe even a full revision in the same time period.
It is good to see Microsoft back in the game. I think they have a successful product on their hands, but even if it isn't a blowout success, it has enough innovation that will make the other players rethink some of their decisions, and that is a total win for consumers.
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